Hygge is an integral part of Scandinavian culture that doesn’t have a direct translation in English. Loosely translated from Danish as “cosiness,” hygge is a cultural concept that doesn’t only describe the atmosphere of a place. It is also a state of mind when you feel comfortable, warm, and content, especially when you’re with a group of close friends or family members. In addition to company, the setting of a place is also a contributor to hygge, and you will notice that most (if not all) homes in Scandinavia are designed to feel hygge.

While the concept evolved from a need to survive the cold, dark Nordic winters, I don’t consider it to be exclusive to temperate climates. There are ways to feel comfortable and “warm” despite the hot and muggy weather in the tropics. Some elements can still be used in tropical climates while others should be omitted altogether (like fireplaces).

Instead of candles, use warm lighting

Warm lighting helps to create a cosier and warmer atmosphere as opposed to the dry and dead fluorescent lights. Dim the lights slightly to create a soft, candlelight-like effect without the use of actual fires.

Prioritize good ventilation

Whereas Scandinavians use fireplaces to warm themselves up during cold nights, tropical weather calls for ways to stay cool. Open some windows to let natural air in and use electric fans to increase circulation.

Take advantage of indoor plants

Indoor plants help to clean toxins and indoor air pollutants inside homes, especially those situated in urbanised areas. Having plants inside the home also keeps the environment more alive and connected to nature.

Use furniture sourced from natural materials

I love minimalism, but I sometimes find metallic, cement, and glass furniture too sterile looking and cold, especially when overused. Wood, bamboo, and rattan are stylish and versatile, and can make interiors look homey while being minimalist and sleek at the same time.

Learn the principle of lagom

Lagom is a Swedish word that can be translated as “just the right amount.” It’s difficult to feel comfortable when there is an excess of things in your home since that can lead to clutter, and extreme minimalism could make the home look empty and impersonal. Strike a balance to clear anything unnecessary at your home while at the same time still retaining a part of you.

Avoid monotonous schemes

While hygge doesn’t require your rooms to look yellow and orange, choosing a good colour scheme is not something everybody can be successful at. Consult with experts and choose whatever you’re drawn to naturally. After all, comfort is subjective and different for everybody. Check out the Color Trend brochures for ideas and inspiration.

Invite some good people over, socialize, and disconnect from the world from the time being – or for introverts, sit on a comfortable couch, read a good book, and turn off your wifi. Hygge is to feel present and appreciate all the little things in life, and this is something most people have forgotten to do due to the rapid pace of our ever-connected lives. Hygge is so intrinsic to Scandinavian culture that most people don’t even think about. It’s no wonder then that Scandinavians continue to be some of the happiest people in the world.

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Kai Lauridsen
Author

Kai is a university student who loves travelling and learning about new cultures. His interests lie in the visual arts such as film, photography, and design. He also practices ashtanga yoga.

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